Posted: Thursday, March 27, 2008
Celestis, Inc.(www.celestis.com), the pioneer and global leader in Memorial Spaceflight, announced today that it has reached agreement with two companies to launch payloads containing human cremated remains to the surface of the Moon as soon as 2009.
"We are pleased to schedule these Luna Service missions, to extend our leadership in the commercial space industry, and - most importantly - to serve our global community of families and loved ones wishing to honor the life of a special person," notes Celestis Founder and President Charles M. Chafer.
In 1998, Celestis, at the request of NASA, provided a Luna Flight Capsule to the family and friends of the late legendary astronomer and planetary geologist Dr. Eugene Shoemaker. The Celestis Flight Capsule, containing a symbolic portion of Dr. Shoemaker's cremated remains, was attached to NASA's Lunar Prospector spacecraft and launched on a one year mission orbiting the Moon. On July 31, 1999, at the completion of the Lunar Prospector's mission, the spacecraft was intentionally impacted into the Moon's south pole, making Dr. Shoemaker the first human inhabitant to be laid to rest on another celestial body. NASA called this memorial "a special honor for a special human being."
Through its Luna 02 and Luna 03 missions, announced today, Celestis will make this special honor available to all who share the vision of extending humanity's reach to the stars.
The two companies selected by Celestis to provide transportation to the Moon are Odyssey Moon Limited (www.odysseymoon.com) and Astrobotic Technology, Inc. ( www.AstroboticTechnology.com ). Each company recently announced plans to conduct privately funded lunar missions.
"The thrill and joy Celestis provides touched me personally when my dear friend and International Space University co-founder Todd Hawley reached his dream of spaceflight in 1997," said Dr. Robert Richards, CEO of Odyssey Moon. "We welcome the opportunity to support Celestis and continue their uniquely compelling service to the Moon."
"Astrobotic Technology, Inc. acknowledges the trust placed in us by Celestis and their families, and we look forward to hosting them at our launch and lunar landing events," notes Dr. Red Whittaker, CEO of Astrobotic Technology.
The Celestis Luna Flight Capsules will be integrated onto the lunar landers in a manner that will actually enhance the prospects for mission success - providing balance and counterweight to stabilize the spacecraft. Once on the lunar surface, the capsules will remain within the spacecraft, not dispersed, creating a permanent memorial to those on board.
Celestis, Inc. opened the space frontier to post cremation memorials in 1997 with the Founders Flight, sending 24 flight capsules into Earth orbit aboard a Pegasus rocket. Celestis has conducted six memorial spaceflights serving people from 14 nations, including Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper, beloved Star Trek actor James Doohan ("Scotty"), and men and women from all walks of life. The next Celestis mission will send 205 participants to Earth orbit aboard a Falcon 1 rocket in June 2008.
Due to the worldwide interest in Celestis memorial spaceflights there is a global network of funeral service providers to aid families with this new memorial alternative. Celestis has exclusive representation throughout Asia (except Japan) by Power Pacific Asset Ltd. (Hong Kong - www.chinesedescent.com/html/eng/service3.htm) and in Korea by Kookminsangjo Co., Ltd (www.kookminsangjo.com), a sub-distributor of Power Pacific Asset Ltd.
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